The Islamic State is claiming responsibility for two bombs that went off at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in southern Philippines on Sunday. The first bomb went off during Sunday morning Mass. The second went off outside of the cathedral as government agencies attempted to respond. As of now, 20 are dead and 81 are wounded, CBS News reported.
According to the BBC, this seems to be political in nature:
In last week's referendum, voters approved the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in majority-Muslim areas of southern Philippines.
But voters in Sulu province, where Jolo is located, rejected it.
The referendum was the result of a peace deal between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The authorities have previously expressed hopes that the vote could be a political solution to try to end decades of fighting between Islamist separatists and the Philippine army in the predominantly Catholic country.
More than 120,000 people have died in the violence.
Members of Congress are taking note of the terror attack.
“The manner and timing of the bombing suggests that it was meant to sow terror in order to affect the course of peace efforts,” Rep. Ruffy Biazon, senior vice chairman of a House of Representatives committee on national security, told the Wall Street Journal. The attack “is a direct challenge to the efforts that the government is pushing for to achieve peace in the southern Philippines.”
Pope Francis took to Twitter to condemn the attacks and ask for prayers for the victims.
Let us pray for the victims of the terrorist attack on the Cathedral of Jolo, in the Philippines. May the Lord, Prince of Peace, convert the hearts of the violent, and grant the inhabitants of that region a peaceful coexistence.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) January 27, 2019
The Muslim Communities Council and the Iraqi Christian Human Rights Council also condemned the attack:
We condemn the terrorist attack against Jolo Catholic Cathedral in S. Philippines. One bomb exploded inside the Cathedral during Sunday mass & 2nd bomb went off outside. 20 people dead & over 80 injured. Philippines Govt. must do more to protect citizens from Islamist terrorists. pic.twitter.com/BjJ6UJ7vxo— Iraqi Christian HRC (@iraqschristians) January 27, 2019
Here are some of the images from the attack:
On #AJNewsGrid: The Philippines government vows to ‘crush’ those responsible for twin blasts on a church that killed at least 20 and left dozens injured. Share your Qs ?? https://t.co/HnHbeQLmzY pic.twitter.com/3WTPpTgyyl— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) January 27, 2019
#UPDATE Death toll from twin church blasts in southern #Philippines lowered from 27 to 20, according to local police citing double counting as the reason for the earlier incorrect figure https://t.co/drA2NivUU4 pic.twitter.com/oseNJZcGpU— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) January 27, 2019